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MPs flay Denel for supplying weapons in Yemen conflict

Eyewitness News logo Eyewitness News 2021/03/10 Babalo Ndenze
a blue and white object © @DenelSOC/Twitter CAPE TOWN - State-owned arms manufacturer Denel has come under fire from Members of Parliament for supplying deadly weapons to what has been labelled an “unjust war” in Yemen.

Denel is in a joint venture with German company Rheinmetall Waffe Munition and provides ammunition through the joint venture to countries like Saudi Arabia, who are involved in the war in Yemen.

In a hearing, the SOE on Wednesday briefed Parliament’s finance watchdog Scopa about its operations and annual report.

The conflict in Yemen, which has cost thousands of lives, seems to have been good for business for Denel.

The government-owned arms manufacturer is a minority shareholder in the Rheinmetall Denel Munition joint venture, with 51% being held by Rheinmetall Waffe Munition.

The joint venture is reported to be producing weapons, like mortars, that are used in what African National Congress (ANC) MP Mervyn Dirks called an unjust war.

"I want to know, your weapons with your joint venture partner Rheinmetall, South African weapons that are in Yemen killing people, I need to know the profit that Denel is making out of the war in that country?"

Scopa member Sakhumzi Somyo has also questioned Denel on how much it made from Yemen arms sales.

Acting CEO William Hlakoane said that he was not sure whether the weapons came directly from South Africa or from the holding company in Germany.

"We need to establish the facts, honourbale chairman, as to what type of weapons you are referring to."

The committee has also heard how Denel was still struggling financially, losing more than R4 billion in revenue over the past three years.

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